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Mark Cuban and Will Smith just helped drop $16 million in AI startup Node, but when will AI bets pay off?

Artificial intelligence’s long, slow rise as the next big thing in tech continues to pull in cash, even as investors are forced to wait for their bets to pay off.

Case in point: AI startup Node’s $16 million in funding from the likes of Mark Cuban and actor Will Smith, announced Thursday, which continues a major venture-funding push into the technology, even as it struggles to make inroads at large businesses. The round — the largest to date for the 5-year-old company, which has raised $36 million — signals more momentum in the market, company officials insist. Being based in California doesn’t hurt, either: The state was tops in AI investments the last three months of 2018, accounting for $1.92 billion in investments over 53 deals.

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